To contextualise, Can Heras is situated in Catalonia, north-east Spain, one hour from Barcelona and 100km from the border with France. Its situation – in the shadows of the Pyrenees to the north and lapped by Mediterranean waters along the Costa Brava coast – lends its position both a gastronomic and climatic privilege. Can Heras is positioned between two of Girona’s municipalities. Eighty-five per cent of the land belongs to Canet d’Adri, which forms part of Girona, while the remaining 15 per cent lies in Camós, part of the Pla de l’Estany county. The villages of Canet d’Adri, Sant Gregori, Sant Marti de Llemena and Sant Aniol de Finestres combine to make up the Association of Municipalities known as La Vall de Llémena.
The word ‘Canet’ derives from the Latin cannetum, meaning ‘cane field’. The word Adri comes from atrium, the Latin term for an entrance courtyard.
The geography of the area is impressively varied, ranging from altitudes of 150m to those of almost 1000m, all within a relatively small area. As such, the lie of the land encourages a large variety of animal and plant species and is consequently deemed an official area of natural interest in Catalonia. One of its many notable features is the 412m high volcano, Puig d’Adri.
The area’s highest peak is Puig Sou which, in turn, is located on Rocacorba, the highest peak in the Gironès. From its base runs the source of the stream known as the Arroyo de Canet or Tournavellins, which flows into the Arroyo de Llémena. As that passes through Canet d’Adri, it forms the gorges of the volcanic Font de la Torre.
La Vall de Llemena stretches across 184 square km, positioned between the counties of La Garrotxa and El Gironès. It is bordered by Rocacorba to the west, while the Arroyo de Llémena stream flows across it into the river Ter.
The landscape, meanwhile, is defined by the convergence of three elements: its ancient volcanoes, the imposing escarpments and an abundance of water sources.
Of the volcanoes (whose last activity ranges between 14 million and 10,000 years ago), Puig d’Adri is the most well-known. The pattern of the volcanoes is the result of the faults that break up the surface rocks and enable the molten matter to rise from inside the earth.
The area’s vegetation, meanwhile, is dominated by stone pine woodland (Pinus pynea) and cork oak (Quercus suber), as well as downy oaks (Quercus pubescens) at the highest attitudes, where the climate is colder and damper. The undergrowth, too, is rich with shrubs and aromatic plants.
The Arroyo del Llémena forms the backbone of the Valle de Llémena and is where visitors will find a wealth of flora, from the narrow-leafed ash to the aspen. Fauna can be divided into two categories: the mountainous such as the wild boar (Sus scrofa) or squirrel (Sciurus vulgaris), and those found at crop level, such as the rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus) or magpie (Pica pica).